Wow, November is waning fast. I’m a bit overwhelmed by what transpired since November 2013. The Dome Trilogy is done; I even put up excerpts on the web page. NaNoWriMo 2014 is nearly over; I somehow wrote an entire book during that time. Thanksgiving Day is done; my failed homemade fan-tan rolls were replaced by gorgeous homemade French rolls last-minute. Black Friday has come and gone; I took a hike instead of participated in the free-for-all consumer frenzy.
I’m worn out mentally and physically and emotionally (and possibly spiritually), yet I want to pick up The Cryptid Series and return to work on it.
However, I have a tall hurdle before me.
The first book is fine. It’s currently in its accordion folder, separated by chapter. Am I nervous about having test readers check it out next month? Yes. Yes, I am very nervous, but it’s not just the test readers giving the book a once-over before publication. I’m concerned about the entire package, beginning to end. I want a professional cover artist to create a special series of covers, but I can’t take the heartbreak of having another series with non-matching covers. This series will be released over several years, like the Dome Trilogy was. Perhaps when the final book is released, I will hire a cover artist to re-design the entire series’s covers the following year to celebrate. I can’t think so far ahead. I have too much to do to make the interiors flow. The covers will flow, for every cover will be prepared like the cover of ‘Til Undeath Do Us Part.
I wish I had the emotional strength to shop this series to literary agents after preparing a strong query package. Waiting another ten years to publish after near-endless rejections . . . well, some new tale will rise in the middle of the Cryptid Series. I have faith in that. The stories don’t stop coming. Whether that is a blessing or a curse, I don’t particularly know. However, I want to know how to prepare a powerful query package. It sounds exciting, a challenge worth the effort. I can’t think that far ahead, either. I have too much to do to prepare this book to be aesthetic on multiple digital platforms.
Currently, Book One is waiting to be transcribed. Book Two has a detailed outline which only waits to be hand-written. Book Three is partially outlined in detail. Book Four has a less detailed outline and will see quite a few changes from the draft to the published product. Despite being the pivotal book in the series, Book Five is part of the next grouping of four books and possesses an even looser outline than Book Four.
Book Three is where the stickiness of building the Cryptid Series really begins. I have a somewhat sloppy timeline. I have to tighten this timeline by resolving two questions which have related answers. Those two questions, entangled as they are, drive a major plot point in the book and in the series. I’m not quite sure how to resolve this without massively disturbing the plot of Book Three and later books as they stand.
I am honestly terrified that I’ll make a terrible and unrecoverable mistake with the Cryptid Series. I fear whatever potential the series would have by being shopped to literary agents will be decimated by choosing to self-publish. Though I do work vigilantly to make sure my prose is fluid, I am not a professional editor. To be truly honest, I can’t afford one despite longing to work with an editor on this particular series.
To even get near to that quality editing, I have busted my backside to make sure that every scene is justified. Book Two is the same way already. Every scene has a purpose. Nearly every scene in both books connects as a commencement or a denouement either in that book or a later book in the series. I learned this lesson from Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone. I still wonder why Harry never gave Dumbledore socks. I see it as a missed opportunity to show that Harry was listening to his beloved mentor during the pivotal Mirror of Erised scene. Even a regretful mention after Dumbledore had died would have sated that hunger to know about the socks. It was just part of the color of the scene, a bit of throwaway dialogue which stuck with me. I think that’s really what I want to have my test readers for. If a scene or character jumps and holds attention, then I want to acknowledge what others see which I do not.
I had an entire series worth of back story flying wildly in my mind as I prepared Books One and Two. Unseen activity was everywhere behind the between-the-lines curtain as the story played out on the stage of the page. Book Three doesn’t hold together in the detailed outline quite yet. I feel deeply unnerved that I have temporarily stalled halfway through Book Three’s outline, since I had Solaray Dawn nearly complete before I published Nightmare Specters. Of course, I should feel pleased that I stalled at both a book and a series crossroads. This is the proper place to pause and take stock of past-present-future events in the entire series.
Despite this somewhat positive news, I still fear.
I fear my writing voice isn’t good any more. I fear that it was never good. I fear that I have consistently and constantly deluded myself. I fear I cannot trust myself as a writer even as I know I am better now than I have been before. I fear that I cannot get past this crossroads, and the series has flopped before the first book has reached my first test readers.
I think . . . I think I’m putting the desire to have this series make money over my desire to have it published. I can’t do that. The joy is getting sucked out of the storytelling because I’m trying to please every reader in the entire world for profit. I don’t want to face the harsh truths, yet I must:
- I will have detractors criticize my story despite wanting to please everyone.
- I will create an imperfect work of fiction.
- I will challenge what people already know about certain preconceived concepts of the paranormal in such a manner that my new angle on old mythology will jar readers into hating it.
- I will fail even as I succeed.
This series grips me as completely as the Dome Trilogy did. I want the Cryptid Series to succeed just as a parent wants his or her child to succeed. My emotions, my time, and my money are invested in bringing this project all the way to publication.
I will bring my best to this series because I believe in it so very much. I will write with passionate love, edit with tough love, and publish with hope-filled love.
Oh, I wish I believed in myself as much as I believed in this series.